Hardest Places to play as of Week 4

Hardest Places to play as of Week 4

Submitted by MaizeNBlue on September 27th, 2009 at 9:53 PM
I've been looking around a bit on both YouTube and via watching regular TV to figure out which stadiums have seemed the loudest/hardest to play in so far this year. While most of the usual suspects are at the top, the main focus of this was obviously to find where Michigan stands now. Please note that in order to save some space, the video evidence is only linked.

The tops, in no particular order:

1. Clemson - This may seem like an odd pick for a hard place to play because Clemson hasn't done that well in general this season (2-2, 1-1 ACC), it's hard to say that their version of "Death Valley" hasn't been loud; it's been VERY loud, but unfortunately for Tiger fans, it hasn't meant much. Last week's TCU match-up was a very loud game despite only 10 points and a loss for the Tigers.

General Projection for Toughness:
Top 5

Video Evidence:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI2JLpqnTdo

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2. Oregon - They're obviously one of the "usual suspects" that I mentioned in the intro of this piece. The Zoo has definitely met the bar as far as crowd noise goes this season; they managed to beat a quality Utah team and the crowd saw its high point this weekend against #6 Cal in a lopsided affair.

General Projection for Toughness:
Top 5

Video Evidence:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpDGn5jid44

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3. Texas - A season after a renovation of their own, the Horns have a lot to be happy about, since the closing in of one of their end zones has seemed to hold in more noise. Although I couldn't find decent video evidence that wasn't ruined by gratuitous amounts of music that I didn't want to listen to, if you watch a game or two on TV of Texas this year I'm sure you'll notice it for yourself.

General Projection for Toughness:
Top 10

Video Evidence:

None, but did anyone see Bevo almost maul one of Texas's WRs? Nothing more gratifying than being gored by a peaceful old cow representing your team.

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4. Michigan - I'm putting us here with a grain of salt. As a student who's been to every game an hour early this year, I've had a great time and personally, I've thought it was pretty loud. The thing is, I'd never been to a Michigan game before this year (trust me, I waited for my chance for a long time) so I don't know how it compares to past years. The luxury boxes do create an echo as others have said, but the stadium was absolutely dead against EMU (rightfully so) and not extremely loud against Indy. However, the WMU and ND games seemed legitimately loud, and after watching some of the replay, I buy it, but only to an extent. From the field, I imagine the Big House is probably one of the top 10 (maybe 15) hardest places to play now. Note that we did cause some delay of games against ND...

General Projection for Toughness: Top 10

Video Evidence:

Compare this -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxTAFYU-US4
to this -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7zTselUuB8
and you tell me.

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5. Florida/Alabama/Virginia Tech/OSU - Well, whatever. I'm not going to waste my time explaining this one.

General Projection for Toughness:
Top 5

Video Evidence:
Not needed.

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Places I haven't been Impressed with but Probably will be by the end of the year: Penn State, LSU, Iowa, Nebraska

Places I truly believe are overrated: Boise State

Places I believe still rank ahead of Michigan: Florida, Penn State, Ohio State, Oregon, LSU, Clemson, VT, Alabama, Nebraska (eh, maybe)

Conclusion: That's 8-9 places that still seem ahead of us in terms of noise and "toughness." While Michigan should eventually return to the ranks of the elite, hopefully we can make it to that level, too, in more than just being classy and having a fun overall location to visit. In the end, winning matters more than intimidation factors, but intimidation factors can play a big role in winning as well - just ask the Floridas of the world, whose fans hang their reputation in large part on the Swamp.

Personally, I think the stadium is 30-50% louder than before, but I think most the work will be done as the team keeps up the exciting pace under Rich Rod's offense. I realize it's been said before, but I think we can get there. It'll just take some time.